It’s that time of year to make predictions about eLearning trends for 2020. About halfway through this year, we wrote about several trends that we expect to see continue into 2020. They included adaptive learning, video-based learning, microlearning, gamification and a focus on personal development. You can read more about those eLearning trends here.
We expect to see those 5 elearning trends carry on into 2020. We’ve also added to this list of elearning trends for 2020 the following 6 predictions.
1. Investment in both corporate and personal eLearning will keep growing
Continuous and meaningful learning and development has become a key concern for Millennial workers and bosses who want to exceed expectations and not be left behind. Studies have determined that today’s employees attribute more value to skills acquisition and career enhancement opportunities than to financial rewards and compensation.
Shocking as that is, it’s true.
Employees these days also tend to switch jobs faster if they don’t see opportunities for growth in their current role. As a result, many firms have started to invest heavily in learning and development programs designed to help ambitious and talented employees that they want to retain reach their maximum potential and productivity levels.
It’s expected that many companies will increase their budget allocated for learning and development opportunities for employees in the coming year. All of this is good news for edupreneurs and aspirational online instructors.
2. Users expect updated, near real-time, relevant content
This eLearning trend for 2020 may be one that was not as important in 2019 to the same degree. There’s a clear and rising need for and expectation of current and highly relevant course content. This is especially visible in the corporate learning world. That said, employees are consumers too, and this expectation will creep into the consumer eLearning markets as well.
The pace of change and volumes of information and data continue to accelerate. Course content will have to keep up, whether its social lingo and slang in a language course or the latest version of a coding language skill.
Content from a year ago? Might as was well have been created in caveman times.
3. Demonstrated learning impact will be very important
The eLearning marketplace is extremely crowded. Consumers and companies have a multitude of choices to access content for learning and training. In order to cut through the noise, they will be scrutinizing the perceived and measured learning impact of online courses.
Employees and consumers have less and less time to devote to learning but want to do more and more of it. If instructors waste their time, this will be extremely frowned upon. Likewise, if your course has measurable learning impact, it will stand out.
Don’t gloss over creating your course learning objectives. Make sure that you build in ways to prove to students that they have been achieved. Its no longer enough to simply convey information and resources in a course.
4.User experience will be a major concern
As we said, with so much information available everywhere at any time, learners have a wide range of educational sources to choose from. However, every medium provides a different user experience.
When it comes to eLearning trends for 2020, business customers especially will look for solutions that enhance their employee’s user experience.
We’ve said this before, but courses must be engaging and interactive. It’s important to take the time to understand what motivates learners, what appeals to them and what doesn’t. For instance, if you’re building a course on customer service, instead of quizzes you might include role-playing exercises to test the learning and make a better learning experience.
To enhance user experience, courses must also be personalized as much as possible in 2020 and beyond. Even on Udemy with its mass-market approach there are ways to build in personalization in a course, such as by using a very personal tone and speaking to different types of students, as well as outside a course through student engagement, Q&A online, social media, etc.
In the same way as all learners are different, they will also be motivated in different ways. It’s important to take the time to understand what motivates your learners, what appeals to them and what doesn’t.
Quizzes, tests, animation, gamification, educational announcements, extra resources – all of it is still needed in spades in order to remain relevant in the eLearning space in 2020.
5. AI, VR and AR are emerging
If you don’t yet know what these acronyms stand for it’s time to learn because many course and course software developers are now moving towards using these technologies to engage learners and improve learning outcomes.
This is particularly true for corporate learners. For the time being, these technologies are being used primarily in corporate eLearning settings.
Virtual reality describes an immersive learning experience. It is being used in corporate training to immerse corporate learners in dangerous situations without putting them in harm’s way. It also allows them to test out new ways of doing things without worrying about making mistakes or incurring costs.
Augmented reality combines a physical real-world situation with computer generated sensory input such as sound, video, or graphics or click and scan technology. Think Pokemon Go.
Augmented reality resource links can be incorporated into eLearning materials to enrich them with interesting facts, stats, and ideas that allow online learners to explore on their own through click and scan technology.
An example of virtual or augmented reality use in eLearning would be changing the process of learning a foreign language and culture. A student could be sitting at the desk learning Spanish, and virtual reality glasses could project a classroom setting in Spain.
This would immerse students not only in the language but also in the culture. Or to go a step further, these glasses could project a real-time Spanish classroom that users would be able to interact with just like the one they were currently sitting in.
Artificial intelligence will be bringing learning and feedback in a personal way for students. Online instructors should take note of companies such as Squirrel AI which has created an alternative to traditional MOOC platforms.
Squirrel AI is building an AI-driven online education platform in partnership with a global network of higher education institutions. The platform provides students with open to one adaptive learning educational programs.
While companies such as Squirrel AI may not have an immediate impact on Udemy or Teachable instructors, it’s worth noting the power of AI and it potential to impact online learning in a variety of ways.
AI is being used to ask student real-time questions, generate new “smart” course content, tutor learners, and provide content analytics, to name a few.
Certainly if you are creating courses on an LMS for corporate customers, your work will be heavily impacted by AI in the coming years by “intelligent” LMS platforms.
But will Udemy or Teachable eventually enable virtual reality-based courses to be uploaded or build AI capabilities into their software? We can’t imagine that any time soon, but then again, they are innovative companies.
At any rate, it may pay to create a course on any one or all of these technologies as it seems they are in high demand!
6. Mobile learning prevails
When it comes to career development the lines between personal and professional lives are blurring. Employees now find it perfectly normal to make use of career enhancement opportunities during their leisure time.
In 2020, we’ll see more people going through online learning programs on the train, in coffee shops and at home. “Knowmads” who like to travel while they work and who have the knowledge, skills, and creativity to support themselves throughout their travel are still on the rise.
The fact is that most people are now willing to learn all the time and engage in eLearning as part of their personal growth process.
Mobile learning implies a few things for online course design. At a basic level, files should be PDF’s, not Word or Excel. If you use infographics, design them so they fit the screen so that users can read them easily without having to scroll sideways.
And it’s even more important to have a YouTube or Vimeo channel where you can put resources and information related to courses as these are easily access and viewed on mobile devices.
Given that more people now consume video on mobile instead of their desktop, it’s important to design courses to be digestible in small chunks, provide more frequent, smaller quizzes, and use mobile friendly learning tools such as flashcards. If a section of a course requires sustained concentration or is difficult to pause in the middle, make this clear at the start of the module
So there you have it. Our full list of eLearning trends for 2020. While we’ve only touched on these trends at a high level, whether you’re a corporate trainer, Udemy instructor or K-12 teacher, it’s important to understand these trends and learn how and why they may affect your online teaching career and course strategy and design.